Since I haven't been posting regularly, I thought it may be time for updates all around on how the kids are doing!
First off, SCHOOL:
We are homeschooling seven of the kids this year!
Aleksa is 9 and is third grade this year, however she is working on the very basics- learning to match, letters, numbers, colors, following simple directions, tracing a line, basic fine motor skills like holding a pencil or crayon and pincer grasp, basic gross motor skills such as jumping... Aleksa is receiving speech, OT, and PT from our local therapy center.
Emma is also 9 and also third grade. She is working on the next step of skills- learning lowercase letters (and getting the uppercase more firmly), counting, fine motor like putting her own shirt and socks on, gross motor such as jumping... Emma is receiving OT and PT from our local therapy center and is on a waiting list for speech when a therapist is available.
Kristopher is our only child attending traditional school this year. He had to change schools because he was allowed to attend our previous school out-of-area only because his siblings all attended there (since it was the only school that had programs for all of them). Instead of moving to our district school, he transferred to private school and is attending the school at our church. This has been wonderful since Michael works at the church and also supports the school! Kristopher is enjoying it and has re-joined a group of friends he attends youth group and Sunday morning church with who he has been with in different programs since he was 6 weeks old :). He is in 3rd grade this year as well and is 8.
Wesley is 7 and is in 1st grade. We are still learning so much about Wesley! As he becomes more expressive, we are able to see what is "sinking in" and different ways we can engage and teach him! Due to his physical limitations in his arms and hands as well as being legally blind, it can be difficult to know how to reach him! He understands SO much, though! We work with him verbally and expose him to as much as we can! Wesley is receiving OT and PT from our local therapy center and is also on a waiting list for speech (which for him will be communication skills).
Brianna is 6 and is in 1st grade. She is working on first grade level in many areas- beginning reading and phonics, addition and subtraction, counting higher numbers of objects, writing letters and numbers, and creating stories. She is LOVING schooling, which is a big encouragement to everyone else! Brianna also receives OT and speech from our therapy center.
James just turned 6 and is in kindergarten. He is working on very basic skills however I think that he will show mastery of these very soon and move on to other areas once we get his energy more contained :). He knows many of the basics but has "gaps" which we are working on filling in as we move toward using those things to build the next skills. James is also receiving OT and speech therapies.
Micah just turned 6 and is in kindergarten. He is using the basic skills he has to draw up the next set. He has now gotten behavior under control and can focus, therefore I see him also going through a huge growth in academic learning! He is also receiving OT and speech therapies.
Lynae just turned 3 and misses the cutoff to even be considered for pre-k in our state, however she LOVES doing school! She attends a morning program at our church two days each week, one of which is when all the other kids attend therapy, and she does school with us the other days. Lynae is working on upper pre-k and kindergarten skills. I guess having a "therapeutic/learning home" where we try to turn things in to learning experiences and skill building may have given her an extra 'edge' as well. She is enjoying both her church class and our home schooling.
Obviously Delaina isn't doing any schooling... but she has her own bouncy seat in our school room and is either in there or in the sling at all times :).
Next area... HEALTH:
Aleksa is doing great! No health issues at all right now. Her areas of concern were mostly hearing, and we seem to have good months and bad as far as that goes. We continue to monitor her, but it appears after the last bout of fluid cleared up that she is doing great hearing now! (listening... a whole different issue!) :)
Emma is also doing well! She continues to be monitored for her heart, but she is hearing good and is otherwise doing well.
Kristopher is healthy as always, thankfully!
Wesley is doing good as well! He's gained 3 lbs since going on the g-tube and I suspect his formula will be increased soon to see a greater weight gain since he is also more and more active since his energy level is up! He's about to have his g-tube changed out for a button-type tube which will be less 'snagable' and give him even more freedom in his movements. He's also going to have a second round of Botox and Phenol injections (hopefully at the same time as the g-tube!) and that RADICALLY improved his movement last time!
Brianna is getting over a stye in her eye, but otherwise has been doing great :) Her heart continues to be monitored but that's not so bad in the great scheme of things!
James continues to be our enigma here. He goes through bouts of eating and not eating... sometimes within the same day. He also is still on a full liquid diet. We were concerned he may be headed back to a g-tube however then his eating picked back up again! We just hope he continues to swing back to GOOD each time his pendulum goes! James failed all his hearing tests and is getting a new set of ear tubes (his third I believe) at the end of September.
Micah is doing well. He still aspirates on thin liquids so everything is thickened for him. He's eating more and more textures, though, which is helpful! Micah also failed all of his hearing tests and will get new ear tubes (this is at least his 5th set I think!) at the same time as James. Daddy will be having a FUN day that day...!!
Lynae goes back for her (hopefully last) cardiology visit this week and is doing well otherwise! THe hope is that her small hole has closed and she is discharged!
Delaina has a bit of baby acne/prickly heat on her head/face/torso (breastfeeding in the Florida heat seems to cause this in newborns more so than when they're born in cooler months/places!), but otherwise is healthy and doing wonderful! She is 6 weeks old now and weighs 8lbs 9oz. She still is in newborn clothes and some of the 0-3 months clothes and size 1 diapers. She's a tiny little thing with LONG arms and legs!
Last but not least, DEVELOPMENTAL updates!
Aleksa is IMPROVING DRASTICALLY!! We decided we would attempt meds for behavior back in May because we could see so much potential, but a total inability to concentrate, stay attentive on any one task, or to think through her actions (impulsivity). Once we found the "right one" she has calmed her little "ticks" dramatically and has begun to focus and learn :). Socially she has gone from totally inappropriate and difficult, to being able to interact freely with the other kids (albeit supervised)! We are so proud of her for her improvements and her desire to change and become a part of the family :)
Emma, well, Emma is Emma :). She continues to make strides in learning, as I addressed in the schooling area, and developmentally she goes forward and backward on a regular basis. She follows directions within her known routines and adjusts ok when we change up from what she likes or is used to :).
Kristopher has hit another maturity leap and is so good with Delaina. He's continuing to learn to be a "great big brother" with his siblings that want to play WITH him, and not to just take over :). He's doing a great job though and is really trying. He is such a good kid :).
Wesley now understands 99.9% of everything that is said to him! He's also started crying for his needs to be met, such as wanting to go out to the play room with the other kids, or to have his orthotics off. Sometimes it's great... sometimes it becomes a true puzzle and we are working on getting him more communication than just crying. BUT, it is a first step!!
Brianna is just a little mommy around here! She is so loving and caring, wants to cook everyone meals on her pretend kitchen, lines up all the plates and food and cups in her room to serve, pushes her babies around in strollers and tells them stories. We believe she also may have an imaginary friend who she's been sharing meals and playing babies with :).
James is doing great in some areas and having a tough time in others! He has always been such a mimic, and is now singing entire songs... or rather humming them. He does the hand motions and singing. He also is having difficulty behaviorally, but that isn't really anything new...
Micah has continued to mature and learn and is really making leaps and bounds developmentally! He's also figured how to get people wrapped around his finger. He's definitely both the charmer and the horribly mischievous child!
Lynae has been growing up so quickly! She joins in with Brianna in all of their pretend games, loves to help the other kids, becomes miss-bossy with things she wants to lead, and wants to be a helper and leader in most areas of life.
Delaina has just started smiling and cooing, which is such a neat thing as babies grow and learn so quickly! She pulls her legs up under her on tummy time and pushes herself everywhere, off the blanket usually :). She has gotten very strong and has really taken to the other kids as well, hearing their voices and calming for some of them as well.
That's all for now... long enough too! We are so proud of each of the kids and where they are/what they are learning/how they are maturing... but more than that, we love them each for exactly who they are, even without changes and developments. We consider ourselves blessed!!